In the realm of hard science fiction, one might say that all the best story lines have already been done, and you could be right. Certainly, “Mother Moon” by Bob Goddard takes a familiar idea – that of colonizing the moon – but he gives it a very modern feel by incorporating some logical outcomes of present-day social and political situations to envision a future Earth society, as well as predicting some of the consequences of current industrial practices, when they are translated into the wider arena of our solar system.
This technologically-based vision of the future is entwined with a parallel story of a distinctly medieval flavour, and all credit here goes to Goddard: both stories are compelling in their human elements, but while the reader might smugly believe that they know where this is going, Goddard’s ending will surprise you. I’ve been reading SFF for a full half-century, and I swear to you that I was bowled right over.
The only quibble I have – and I freely admit that it is purely personal, and that most fans of hard SF will disagree – is that sometimes the technological/scientific explanations take over to the extent that I lost the threads of the story. I understand that had Goddard skimped on some of those, there would be readers howling that there wasn’t sufficient justification (or just enough plain physics) to let them suspend disbelief, but I am not one of those, and I found myself having to reread some sections to remind myself of what had precipitated the problem that science needed to fix.
But if you love those nuts-and-bolts dovetailing with very believable human stories of the difficulties of survival in the hostile environment of the moon, if you wonder how the human race will meet those kinds of challenges, out there or here on earth, then you’ll be in good hands with this author.